Topic: Economy & business
Ashgabat, 27 September 2005 (nCa) --- During a meeting Monday with the delegation of the Japanese firm Itochu, President Niyazov of Turkmenistan offered a wide range of options for mutual cooperation in the oil and gas sector.
Japanese delegation was headed by Minoru Murofushi, former head of Itochu, and current chair of Japan-Turkmenistan Council on Economic Cooperation, a voluntary body that looks after the economic interests of Japan in Turkmenistan.
Niyazov invited Itochu to participate in modernization and renovation of Seyidi refinery, a composite project that could cost more than US $ one billion.
He also asked them to consider working on the hydrocarbon deposits in the Caspian sector of Turkmenistan.
Japanese delegation showed serious interest in both the offers.
It was decided during the meeting that Turkmenistan-Japan Committee on Economic Cooperation would meet in December this year in Japan. Guichnazar Tachnazarov, deputy prime minister of Turkmenistan responsible for oil and gas sector, would lead the Turkmen delegation in the talks.
The visitor said that because of huge economic potential, flexible investment and tax policy and internal political stability, many Japanese companies in the public and private sector were keen to partner with Turkmenistan.
Niyazov said that Turkmenistan considers Itochu Corporation a long-term partner of Turkmenistan. He asked the Itochu representatives and ministry of oil and gas officials to work together to prepare the list of engineering and machinery units that Turkmenistan would purchase from Itochu in 2006.
Itochu also offered to train the female Judo team of Turkmenistan for the Beijing Olympics.
Murofushi last visited Ashgabat in August 2004.
Itochu is a traditional business partner of Turkmenistan. It has participated in rebuild of Turkmenbashy refinery, the most-modern refining facility in the entire CIS region. It is part of the consortium that provided, and is upgrading, the polypropylene plant in the Turkmenbashy refinery. Itochu also supplied the desalination plant in the same refinery.
Itochu provides heavy construction machinery, earthmoving equipment, pipe layers, dredgers, bulldozers, and other machinery items to Turkmenistan. A network of Itochu and Komatsu service centres that is slated to expand to the entire territory of Turkmenistan makes Japanese companies a preferred partner of Turkmenistan.
Itochu had 6.5% stake in the CentGas consortium, the Unocal-led gas pipeline project that was the predecessor of the present Trans-Afghan Pipeline (TAP) scheme. Several Japanese companies including Itochu have shown interest in the TAP project which is still on the drawing board.
In the CIS region, Itochu maintains offices in Azerbijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
Turkmenistan-Japan economic cooperation committee was formed in 1994.
Japanese Charge d’Affaires, Yasumasa Iijima, was also present during the meeting.